LEED Applications Take Off As Program Becomes Accepted Green Standard
When first launching Green Lodging News a little more than a year ago, there were just two lodging properties in the United States that had received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)—the Marriott-managed University of Maryland University College Inn and Conference Center, Adelphi, Md., and the Len Foote Hike Inn in Dawsonville, Ga. Since then, three other U.S. properties have obtained LEED certification. Given that there are many hundreds of commercial buildings outside of lodging that have been LEED certified, it would appear that our industry has been late to the game, right?
Not so fast. According to USGBC, there are now 118 hotels under development that have registered for LEED certification. That number is growing quickly. Many of the developers of those 118 properties do not want their names to be known but here is a sample of some of the brands showing up on the list that I have: Drury Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Starwood’s element, Marriott’s Renaissance, Hilton, Orchard, Ambrose, Westin, Gaia. It really is astounding how quickly the lodging industry has latched on to LEED over the past year.
In what states are there the most properties in pursuit of LEED certification? California leads the way with 23, followed by New York with 14 and Nevada with 13. Next are the following states: Florida, eight; Virginia and Colorado, six; and Texas and North Carolina, four. One would expect most activity to occur in states where most hotel building tends to take place and that is true with LEED. I suspect there are some readers who are not yet up to speed on USGBC and LEED. Here are a few details you should know.
LEED is a Green Building Rating System established by USGBC. The organization is a nonprofit composed of leaders across the building industry working to advance buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. USGBC was founded in 1993.
Five Areas Evaluated
LEED evaluates buildings in five areas: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Within these credit areas, points are available and the number of points a project earns determines the level of certification the building will be awarded. There are four progressive levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. LEED addresses a variety of buildings and building project types through individualized systems, including:
”¢ New Construction;
”¢ Existing Buildings;
”¢ Commercial Interiors;
”¢ Core and Shell;
”¢ Homes (to be released this fall);
”¢ Neighborhood Development (in pilot); and
In addition, LEED systems are in development for Campuses, Retail, Labs and Healthcare.
There are some in our industry who have been critical of USGBC’s rating system and justifiably so; it was not created for hotel buildings so it is not a perfect fit. The reality is that it is all the lodging industry has at this point. The good news is that LEED is ever evolving and improving and you can bet that USGBC is taking note of our industry’s yearning for its own rating system. Please be sure to visit Green Lodging News often for additional news on LEED developments.
Odds & Ends
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